Everton star showcases talent on England stage as transfer rumours continue

Jarrad Branthwaite made his full England debut last night as the Three Lions beat Slovenia 3-0 in their first pre-Euros warm-up match.
England v Bosnia & Herzegovina - International Friendly
England v Bosnia & Herzegovina - International Friendly / Stu Forster/GettyImages

The Everton centre-back came on in the second half of the game for his long-awaited and anticipated first action in an England shirt.

In truth he did not have much to do as Slovenia offered little going forward in what was a disjointed and classically low-key friendly game.

Blues supporters will no doubt be hoping that Branthwaite's stand-out performances in the Toffees defence last season is enough to get him a seat on that plane to Germany.

Certainly, there were few Premier League centre-backs who performed better over the course of the campaign, especially in a side struggling with both on and off-the-pitch problems, that would have sunk many teams.

A combination of huge uncertainly over the club's future ownership allied with two hugely controversial and unprecedented points deductions that Everton were hit with, almost did for the Blues.

Throughout it all and even as the team suffered a thirteen match winless run that threatened to pull the Toffees right into the relegation dogfight, Branthwaite continued to play with a calmness and maturity that belied his youth and inexperience.

His strength in the tackle, assuredness in possession, excellent positional sense and even the new-found ability to get himself on the score-sheet, were all on display as he produced regular man-of-the-match performances.

So, this call-up to the full England squad is a fully well-deserved and merited honour.

Inevitably though, all this success has boosted Branthwaite's profile very considerably and has made him a target of other Premier League clubs looking for the next big defensive talent coming through.

And with Everton's finances in a very fragile state and the ownership issue still not resolved after 777 Partners bid collapsed, the pressure it seems will only mount on the club to sell it's best players this summer.

Manchester United are the club most often linked with a move for the former Carlise youth team product and their interest seems to be strong and consistent.

There is an inevitability about the 21-year-old's upward trajectory and it is a trajectory that will in the end surely take him away from Goodison Park and to pastures new. But let us hope it is not for at least another twelve months or so.